Warren keeps pressure on CFPB’s Mulvaney with new letter

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., raised ethics concerns about Mick Mulvaney's dual role leading both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget.

In a 17-page letter sent to Mulvaney on Friday, Warren said he had provided "evasive, misleading, or incomplete answers" to more than 100 questions and requests from Democratic senators, which she called "an unacceptable track record for a public official."

"Continuing in your role within the Executive Office of the President while leading an independent regulator undermines the arrangement that Congress sought to create when setting up the CFPB as an independent agency," Warren wrote.

Warren, the architect of the bureau who has sparred with Mulvaney since he became acting director, claimed Mulvaney had failed both to address concerns about potential conflicts of interest and to provide information about applicable ethics rules.

She also took issue with Mulvaney's claim, written in response to one of her previous letters, that federal law provides the CFPB director or acting director "near complete discretion and autonomy."

"That is simply false," Warren wrote. "While the CFPB is an independent agency — like other financial regulators — its Director is subject to a number of clear legal requirements, on everything from ethics to enforcement to supervision. My concern is that you have repeatedly violated those requirements since assuming control of the agency. Your refusal to answer basic questions about the legal basis for your actions only heightens that concern."

In a total of nine previous letters, Warren had asked Mulvaney to respond to 125 different questions, but the senator claims he did not respond to 105. The new letter sought responses for all the unanswered questions.

The sheer volume of information that Warren requested indicates she intends to keep the pressure on Mulvaney with repeated congressional requests, just as GOP lawmakers did with his Democratic predecessor, Richard Cordray.

In addition to questions about Mulvaney's alleged conflicts of interest, Warren asked Mulvaney numerous questions about the actions he took to ease up on payday lenders, the agency's investigation into the Equifax data breach, the number of political appointees at the bureau, the freezing of the CFPB's civil penalty fund, and Mulvaney's review of pending investigations and litigation.

Warren asked Mulvaney to respond to the 105 questions by March 31.

A CFPB spokesman said, “We received the letter and are reviewing it.”

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Corporate ethics Payday lending Enforcement Mick Mulvaney Elizabeth Warren CFPB